Securing to a chain pickup on a mooring

ylop

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This might be a really dumb question!

I’ve picked up moorings with 1.5-2” rope pennants (usually with chaff protection) before. I’ve also picked up moorings with no pennant where you feed your lines through the eye on the bouy. But Ive discovered a new arrangement - a chain pennant - and am wondering if there is a well recognised approach for these.

For now, I’ve moved the anchor off the roller, brought the pennant chain (which is much larger than my anchor chain) over the roller and then “tied” it off using basically an OXO on a bow cleat. I’ve then tied a rope to the chain just aft of the anchor roller and cleated in on the other bow cleat so that the rope is carrying the load and the chain OXO is a backup.

I’m sure it’s secure, but it was quite a bit of faff, the anchor is too heavy for my crew to lift without risking injury.

I am about to take on a mooring laid by the same contractor in the same area so expect it will have a similar arrangement. I’d like it to be simple and safe enough for my crew to comfortably handle on the foredeck for either arrival or departure.

1. Is there a standard approach?

What I am thinking might be best would be to make up a very beefy bridle coming into the boat over the fairleads (which are about 6” back from the bow) on each side and then onto the cleats which are about 2’ aft of the fair leads. The bridle could then have a nice spliced metal eye at its midpoint (stainless of galv?) and be attached to the galvanised chain (2. how best to do this so it’s easily attached/removed/doesn’t seize if left for 3 weeks?). The slack chain and pick up bouy would come over the bow but preferably not need to come through the anchor roller. 3. Is there a neat way to keep that from banging around? Perhaps a soft shackle to the bow roller?

The chain itself then still needs secured somewhere. In case either or both parts of the bridle fail or the “hook” to the chain comes off…. If there’s a beefy bridle on the cleat I can’t see I could realistically get the chain in any OXO style onto the cleat too. 4. Could it be shackled to the cleat?

5. If making a bridle would you put soft eyes that can just be dropped over the cleats and are the perfect length or is there a benefit to being able adjust the length and tying them off?
I think just dropped over makes sense but I’ve always been paranoid they might mysteriously jump off and added a line in an oxo over the top. Is that just paranoid?

Final question - looking around the moorings other people seem to have very different lengths of chain penance still between them and bouy. Some are perhaps bringing just a foot of chain in and securing it - leaving 3-4m ? to the bouy, others have brought in much more leaving only 1m or so. 6. Are there pros/cons of each?

Before anyone says “whatever your insurer says” they don’t stipulate - but presumably if I do something unconventional they will have a view! Surprisingly whilst my various text books have sections on how to pick up a mooring, none seem to cover what you do with the pennants at all! So it’s either obvious and I’m being dumb / paranoid OR (and Google would suggest this may be the case) custom and practice is local geography specific? It West of Scotland - March-October. 32’ Boat.
 

B27

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I would not 'OXO' a chain, because it can jam on the cleat.
Normally on visitors moorings, there's a chain loop which I'd simply loop over the cleat.
Maybe bind it in place with a rope.
If you can't simply loop the chain, then I'd tie or shackle a rope to the chain and cleat the rope.

For a permanent mooring, I would shackle on a loop of chain which fitted nicely on my cleat.
The pickup line would bind the chain onto the cleat.

All shackles need to be super-secure. Mine have the pins replaced with HT bolts and locknuts added, torqued up with loctite, drilled and wired.

I'm not a fan of rope bridles and leaving the anchor on the roller, as in a gale when the bridle is pulled hard, it can get intimate with the anchor on some boats.

Whatever you do, I'd suggest frequent checking for the slightest chafe issues.

Length of pennant is some kind of dark art, depending on local wind against tide conditions, 'fetch' for the waves etc, and of course space between moorings.
 

vyv_cox

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Our pickup chain on Menai Strait was always 1/2 inch galvanised chain. I shackled a loop on the end, dropped this over the cleat and OXOed the pickup line over it.

I never found the necessity for any elasticity in the form of a snubber. The riser chain in deep water was heavy enough that it never pulled straight beneath the buoy, so catenary was always enough to take up snatch
 

Bristolfashion

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I use a substantial line with a spliced eye as my "primary" - push the eye through the chain link, feed the rope through & you have a chafe free connection - you could also tie this line on. Goes over bow roller.

Feed a 2nd rope through a chain link and form a bridle - but leave it loose, so there's no chance of chafe. Over bow roller as well or thru port/starboard fairleads to cleats. This forms a backup to the primary and, when you come to leave, you can use this rope to take the pressure off the primary to release splice loop or undo a knot.

You are then "rigged to slip" and can easily depart when ready.

I move the anchor completely out of the way - lifting it for short / settled conditions or moving it back to the deck for other situations.
 

ylop

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Ah, a loop of chain made with a shackle seems logical. Odd that these visitor moorings don’t have such a think - almost encourages the unthinking to use the rope for the pickup!

Avoiding moving the anchor is my main objective. If backs or shoulders don’t get hurt from awkward positions then fingers are going to get trapped or someone is going to lean out too far and go for a swim on some really bouncy day! I could potentially add a second bow roller.
 

vyv_cox

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Ah, a loop of chain made with a shackle seems logical. Odd that these visitor moorings don’t have such a think - almost encourages the unthinking to use the rope for the pickup!

Avoiding moving the anchor is my main objective. If backs or shoulders don’t get hurt from awkward positions then fingers are going to get trapped or someone is going to lean out too far and go for a swim on some really bouncy day! I could potentially add a second bow roller.
When I pick up a mooring I lift the anchor off the roller using a simple tackle to the pulpit.
 

Neeves

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I'd attach a rope to the anchor, drop the anchor, a bit, then house the anchor on deck using an attached halyard. The weight is taken by the halyard, you just need to be careful feeding it round the bow to save the gel coat. You might need an old towel or door mat on which to drop the anchor and a decent boat hook to keep the anchor off the gelcoat.

If the anchor is so big and heavy you must have large yacht - or the anchor is too big. Before you add a new bow roller - consider whether a different anchor might be a better investment.

Jonathan
 

ylop

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Jonathan - you never miss an opportunity to make it an anchor thread! It’s not a huge yacht, but the angles of lifting are awkward and the anchor is an articulated design (which you are not a fan of but is widely used in these parts despite everyone saying they are crap). The crew are either relatively young skinny (polite way of saying weak) or getting on a bit with various joint issues! I’m sure that either could carefully lift the equivalent weight in the gym. On a rolling deck, leaning over the pullpit with a centre of gravity that is assymetric not so sure.
This is not my actual boat but it shows the arrangement. Bavaria 32

If this was just for occassional use id be fine with the faff, but it’s going to be its permanent (summer) home so every time we come back. It feels like that should be a slick operation, just like people who set up mooring lines exactly the right length and leave them on the pontoon when they go - to save them ten minutes when they get back.
 

Neeves

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Avoiding moving the anchor is my main objective. If backs or shoulders don’t get hurt from awkward positions then fingers are going to get trapped or someone is going to lean out too far and go for a swim on some really bouncy day! I could potentially add a second bow roller.

You mentioned anchors not me, you are even considering a second bow roller - I just picked up on your thread drift and offered an option.

You and others, by complaining, are discouraging people offering options.

Its a forum.... encourage people to offer help - even if it does not meet your needs.

I have broad shoulders, I can take the negativity and will not be discouraged, others might be less enthusiastic

Jonathan
 

ylop

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You mentioned anchors not me, you are even considering a second bow roller - I just picked up on your thread drift and offered an option.
But as you will see from the picture I posted whilst there may be better anchors out there which will do the job, and they might be marginally better from a manual handling perspective: the end of the shaft goes into the anchor locker - so it needs to be move forward on the roller, or the locker needs opened creating an extra hazard on deck, or a longer stretch for the person moving the anchor. Then there's a limited height to use Vyv's suggestion because of the teak step. Your halyard approach would need to go under the step and then effectively be pulling in back not up. Having got the anchor far enough forward to lift, you then need to wrestle in back through a small gap. Certainly that would be easier with a fixed shank design - but then the "window" between forestay, step and stantion may become problematic. Swapping the anchor MAY require modifications to the roller anyway, but I can buy a second bow roller for less than £100.
You and others, by complaining, are discouraging people offering options.
I wasn't really complaining I was smiling at you!
Its a forum.... encourage people to offer help - even if it does not meet your needs.
I'm not sure that is "help" then - but I'm open to all sorts on input - even the question of whether there are better ways to handle the anchor. I'm surprised that people using moorings routinely are moving their anchors every time but it seems some are. The idea of having a loop in the chain is so obvious now that its been suggested I'm still wondering why this isn't rigged that way to start with.
I have broad shoulders, I can take the negativity and will not be discouraged, others might be less enthusiastic
I really wasn't intending it to be negativity - perhaps your shoulders aren't as broad as you think.
 

ylop

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Length of pennant is some kind of dark art, depending on local wind against tide conditions, 'fetch' for the waves etc, and of course space between moorings.
Is that dark art one of trial and error? Lets assume that "swinging room" is not a problem. Presumably too long had the possibility in light conditions to tangle itself on the mooring? Is too short a comfort thing, or a banging against the bouy thing?
 

Neeves

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I did read the posts but have forgotten all the detail and the idea may have been aired.

Looking at the photo of the Bav 32, if its similar to yours, you have two bow cleats.

Why not rig a simple short bridle between the 2 cleats such that it is connected to the mooring and lies below your unmentionable jewellery adorning you yachts bow roller? It need not be beefy, it could be dyneema, how you connect to the mooring depends on the kit supplied by the mooring contractor - but there are lots of options.

Your only problem is connecting the bridle to the mooring, but you have that issue whatsoever you do. You could make the mooring/bridle all one unit and you simply pick up two spliced eyes, one for each cleat and/or you could ask the mooring contractor to make the bridle, or two short strops with eyes to fit your bow and bow cleats.

If you worry about securing the buoy when short handed....
before you get into close quarters with the mooring....rig a rope, yacht length from bow cleat to stern outside all the yacht (as you do a spinnaker sheet). Pick up the mooring from the helm (boat hook), thread long rope through mooring, quickly take in all the slack as the yachts drifts astern and walk to bow - you now have the mooring in your hand and can do with it what you will - but you know all this and I'm simply boring you with repetition of the obvious.

But we don't know - what you don't know

Jonathan
 

ylop

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I did read the posts but have forgotten all the detail and the idea may have been aired.

Looking at the photo of the Bav 32, if its similar to yours, you have two bow cleats.

Why not rig a simple short bridle between the 2 cleats such that it is connected to the mooring and lies below your unmentionable jewellery adorning you yachts bow roller?
I think that is what I was suggesting in the OP? Or are your saying ignore the chain pennant completely and rig the bridle to the bouy directly?
It need not be beefy, it could be dyneema, how you connect to the mooring depends on the kit supplied by the mooring contractor - but there are lots of options.

Your only problem is connecting the bridle to the mooring, but you have that issue whatsoever you do. You could make the mooring/bridle all one unit and you simply pick up two spliced eyes, one for each cleat and/or you could ask the mooring contractor to make the bridle, or two short strops with eyes to fit your bow and bow cleats.
My assumption, which may of course be wrong, is that the large highly respected mooring contractor has used chain for the pennant for a good reason.
If you worry about securing the buoy when short handed....
before you get into close quarters with the mooring....rig a rope, yacht length from bow cleat to stern outside all the yacht (as you do a spinnaker sheet). Pick up the mooring from the helm (boat hook), thread long rope through mooring, quickly take in all the slack as the yachts drifts astern and walk to bow - you now have the mooring in your hand and can do with it what you will - but you know all this and I'm simply boring you with repetition of the obvious.
I've seen this done, but as I don't sail single handed have never resorted to doing it myself. That certainly lets you get the situation under control whilst you faff around with bow jewellery ;-) etc - but actually getting the mooring initially secured it not the dilemma here - its how best to secure a chain pennant so you can comfortably leave the boat for 3 weeks and be sure it will still be there when you return. With the secondary question of how to make that as faff free as possible so you can pack everything up, hop in the dinghy and start the 2.5h drive home.
 

B27

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Leaving a boat on a swinging mooring for 3 weeks at a stretch, you need to be using very tough components and high reliability.
On my boat, I can check after every strong wind, so I know where chafe was beginning to happen and could take steps to eliminate it, before real damage happened. If something isn't quite right, your 'chafe protection'' can have a short life.
As an 'absentee' mooring holder, you need stuff that can't go wrong.
All chain.
Welded shackles.
The mooring comes first, the anchor will have to accommodate that.

Also a boat moored for 3 weeks sees a lot of tides turn.
Which takes us into worrying about swivels.
If there boat starts to 'wind up' the mooring, is there anyone keeping an eye who will take action?
Some boats turn the same way, clockwise or anticlockwise, twice a day. Some only do that with certain wind directions.
 

Neeves

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I find it odd that UK moorings are as you describe, chain attached to the seabed (big concrete block or...) and chain rising to floating buoy. Pennant attached to buoy - often also connected to chain.

But you have this long length of chain.

We have ground chain, on the seabed, attached to concrete block and then floating mooring line attached to chain - the mooring line is basically depth + tide, + a bit and then a short mooring strop, pennant, spliced to an eye on the end of the seabed to sea surface rope. Our moorings replace your chain with rope. As the rope floats it does not touch the seabed - and any wear is on the chain on the seabed. We have tiny marker buoys attached to the pennant.

I had our pennant made into a bridle, by the mooring contractor - he then is responsible for all the mooring kit.

Our moorings are all to the same design, bigger or smaller chain, longer or shorter mooring line etc. I don't think our mooring contractor would countenance a different design - but they were happy to supply a bridle, or 2 matching pennants.

Down on the seabed our floating mooring line is attached to the chain with a splice sheathed with hose pipe and a big (1") shackle , pin welded closed, through splice and chain.

I don't see why you could not have 2 pennants, call it a bridle, attached to the chain (you might need a swivel and shackle) in a manner not much different to ours. 2 x Rope pennants, splice at both ends, one end comes to your bow cleat the other end is permanently attached to the chain. When you want to 'moor' you pick up one pennant, attach to bow cleat then pick up the other and attach to the other bow cleat. I'm assuming this is your mooring and you would leave the 2 pennants every time you go off on the yacht. You might need to experiment with length - but they will not need to be very long - guess (but never guess :) ) about 1m each.

I'd experiment yourself - and once you are happy talk with your mooring contractor about him supplying the 2 x pennants, 1 x common shackle and (maybe) a swivel (but there maybe a swivel down near the seabed). You are then covered by his insurance.

Jonathan

edit

I spent a long time with our mooring contractor and was on his barge every time he serviced our mooring, annually. Our moorings would last about 3 years if left to their own devices. The wear is at the splices, primarily those at the seabed. But its the swivel and shackle that inevitably fail (which is why they are 1" sized). Our seabed is silica sand. Historically after every big blow a few yachts would be on the beach - this was curtailed when they demanded sight of an annual service invoice every time you renewed your lease on the mooring. I never had any doubts on the integrity of our mooring.

If the mooring pennant is unprotected and wears, say on the anchor - this was a fault of the yacht owner.
 
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Neeves

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This is our mooring. The block weighs 1t (in air), we had 2. The rope in the man's hand is the floating mooring line, strong enough to lift the 2 blocks. The blocks are connected to chain you can see and then a smaller 'sweep' chain. The second picture shows what happens if you do not service one of 'our' moorings. The rope and splice is surprisingly robust - its the steel work that corrodes and abrades. You can see how the mooring chain, attached at the shackle pin has worn to a few mm. Strength does not matter - its all about abrasion. We had a swivel in the system, between two lengths of chain

The mooring rope floated and a little yellow marker buoy attached for each mooring, you can see one on the 50' yacht on the left of the image
40wandeen yachts mooring screen 027.JPG
IMGP1634.JPG
 

ylop

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Also a boat moored for 3 weeks sees a lot of tides turn.
Which takes us into worrying about swivels.
If there boat starts to 'wind up' the mooring, is there anyone keeping an eye who will take action?
Some boats turn the same way, clockwise or anticlockwise, twice a day. Some only do that with certain wind directions.
I've seen mention of "winding up" before but I don't think have seen it explained? My inference was that if we imagine the chain and mooring were actually a solid pole mount mounted in the ground and sticking well clear of the water that the pennant is essentially winding itself around the pole getting shorter and shorter each time - like a swingball when it reaches the end of its travel? If I've followed that right what's less clear is what then happens once there is no more pennant to wind - presumably the bouy and boat get intimate and its going to be bad for gel coat - or maybe worse. But I think I saw someone suggesting that it could pull the bow down. That feels like it might have been an issue on some types of boat with low freeboard and maybe a fine entry.

I think the winds are probably strong enough and variable enough that she won't consistently wind in the same direction, and many other boats left in the same area, with moorings from the same contractor go far longer between visits.
 

B27

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I've seen boats which have wound up their moorings.
It puts a lot of load on things and I think it accelerates wear.
 
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